CETA: "Excellent for democracy and millions of Europeans"

Most but not all Flemish editorialists are unhappy with the way the Belgian region of Wallonia has scuppered the free trade deal with Canada.

The left-leaning De Morgen jumps to the defence of the Walloon 'Njet' saying that the interests are so important that the issue will have to be revisited: "This will be an excellent for democracy and social protection of millions of Europeans and Canadians and it will be the achievement of the Walloon PM who had the courage to continue to say no."

"Above all the Walloon opposition is a new warning to European political leaders to gain control of the democratic deficit. Too long they led the EU unilaterally under the slogan "Just Say Yes", the title of the Snow Patrol hit. For once a federated state has dared to say 'No'. It's not the first time and won’t be the last. That's the key issue of this problem, not the image of the Walloon socialist party."

Belgium exporting its intercommunity shenanigans

The Flemish financial daily De Tijd, mouthpiece of the Flemish employers, writes that during the past week Belgian and European politics have shown their worst side: "We saw a Walloon government that seemed to have forgotten that at the beginning it gave the go ahead for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) talks with Canada, trade dispute settlement courts included. We saw a debate in which emotion and irrationality won the day ahead of facts. This was our Belgian version of "post-truth politics" as the atmosphere around the Brexit referendum and the Trump campaign in the US is described."

"After this debacle during which the entire world has got to know the shenanigans of Belgium's intercommunity politics, reality and rationality should return to the discussion. In this way a good trade accord can arise from its ashes."

"European Commission should get itself elected"

The Flemish centrist De Standard is caught in a vice between too much and too little democracy. It compares the attitude of Wallonia to Brexit supporters: "They wish a greater say in important decisions. They are suspicious of the Brussels bureaucracy that prioritises trade above the citizen to whom they are not accountable."

"Globalisation is growing above the heads of the elite. The elite should be returned to the citizen. If the European commission wishes to take important decisions over our lives - as it should be able to do - it should get elected."

"Grist to the mill of Flemish nationalists'

The internet news site says Wallonia's 'Njet' is a gigantic precedent. "Until now member states have never had the inclination to block such dossiers. Certainly not member states like Belgium that have a lot to gain from more trade and exports."

"The diplomatic damage for federal Belgium is great. PM Michel will now have to explain how our country is responsible for such economic damage. The image of an impotent premier predominates. The domestic ramifications are considerable too. The Francophone socialists show their confederal logic. Wallonia and not the whole countries comes first. This is grist to the mill of the Flemish nationalists who will see greater fissures in the Belgian co-operation union."

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